Good morning! Today I have a post from Bryan, a personal finance blogger and freelance writer at Gajizmo.com. Bryan graduated from a top-ranked university with a finance degree and has worked in M&A and private equity for 3 years. Please contact me if you would like to guest post on RFI.
In today’s economy, everyone can use a little extra income, but finding ways to make more money may take some imagination. Competition is prevalent in every niche and industry, so you may need to try a unique approach but the results may be worth the additional effort. There will of course be a learning curve and success or recognition may not come instantly, but individuals who work hard, network, and choose a field they are passionate about will almost always come out on top. The biggest benefit is that whatever money you make on the side can go directly to your savings or retirement account, while your primary income takes care of your living expenses. Whatever you choose to do may not get you rich, but every bit helps bring you closer to your dreams.
Outsourcing has become a popular way for small businesses to get services without the expense of hiring full time employees. Freelance websites such as FreeLancer.com, Fiverr.com, ELance.com, and ODesk.com allow you to list jobs and people with the required skillset place bids to do the work. Skills you can market include data entry, copywriting, web design, programming, translating foreign languages and other work that can be accomplished on a home PC. The amount of money you can make depends on your skills and the time you can devote to the work.
As a freelancer offering services, you will have to post a profile with your education and experience and have a PayPal or MoneyBookers account to receive payments. Look for websites that rate employers since some non-rated employers may not be reliable about making payments. Freelancer.com has a milestone program where bidders can request part of or all of their payment be placed in an escrow account that is released when the job is completed.
Additionally, if you are specifically looking for writing opportunities, you may be better off working for large online media companies such as Quinstreet, Investopedia.com, Examiner.com, or Babble.com.
There are a lot of direct sales companies that contract with individuals to sell their products, including Avon, Mary Kay, Amway and specialty lingerie companies. Some utilize party plans while others encourage sales to family and friends. Although there are bonuses and incentives for recruiting new salespeople, the average direct sales representative makes about $115 dollars a month; however, you must consider that not everyone who joins actively sells. The amount of time and effort you spend on this affects your income and, as an independent contractor, you are responsible for reporting your income to the IRS. In the end, if you have a lot of female friends or are a part of a large community, as long as you offer comparable prices to what could be found online or in-store, there is no reason your friends would not buy through you and help you make a commission.
On the flip side, if there is a local manufacturer or retailer that is not known nationally, it may be prudent for you to open an eBay or Amazon store and sell their products on their behalf. If the company is small enough, approach a sales representative or the owner and inquire about wholesale prices to help them improve brand exposure and selling through new mediums.
If you have children, especially infants, you know they often outgrow their clothes before the clothes wear out. Most of us have things taking up space in our closets that we will probably never wear again. Whether it’s a wedding gown, a prom dress, business suit, blouse, or kids clothing, consignment shops will sell your items and give you cash. The commission is usually 10% to 20 % of the sales price and the clothing must be clean and in good condition, but this can net some cash and help you clean out your closet and attic.
However, why stop there? If you are willing to do a bit of leg work, sell your goods online. This can easily turn into a full-fledged internet business. Just ask Sophia Amoruso of NastyGal.com, who founded a $100 million revenue online retailer by first visiting Goodwill stores and picking out undervalued, fashionable items and selling them online. For example, Amoruso explains that she once found a Chanel outfit in a bin, bought it for $8, and turned around and sold it for $1,000. These opportunities don’t come around every day, but unless you are in the business and coming up with creative ways to make money, these things will never cross your mind.
Start A Small Business or Work Part Time
If you are a handyman, can repair electronics or appliances or love to do yard work, a part-time business at home can bring in extra cash. Word of mouth, business cards on community bulletin boards and an ad in the local paper should be enough advertising to get you started. Cleaning houses, housesitting, dog walking, evening childcare and sitting with elderly shut-ins are also services that are in demand. Think about what you can offer and how much time you can spend working a second job before you put the wheels in motion. The best part is that most of these simple services can be good businesses for your kids, who will likely be paid in cash and can avoid paying taxes.
On the other hand, with the U.S. Affordable Care Act coming into full swing early next year, health insurance will be required of all U.S. citizens. If you run a small business on the side, health insurance premiums may become prohibitively expensive. While most restaurant businesses do not offer benefits to part time employees, coffee houses like Starbucks and Coffee Bean, UPS, Costco, JC Penney, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Safeway and Kroger have great benefits for employees who work 20 to 30 hours per week. The pay isn’t bad either since part-timers can make between $8.00 and $15.00 per hour to start. If you need a part time job, or you need medical insurance for yourself or your family, working part-time at certain companies may be the best way to supplement your paycheck.
Get A Roommate
If you have an extra room in your home or apartment, you may be able to share expenses with another person. If your space is rented or you live in a condo, you should check with your landlord or condo association before subletting. Make sure you have a written agreement stating the terms of the sublet, especially if your roommate is a friend or family member. Splitting monthly expenses or getting paid rent on your extra space is an easy way to make extra money every month, especially if the roommate doesn’t know how much the entire apartment costs. I’ve heard many situations where people have charged more than 50% of the rent to their roommate despite keeping the bigger bedroom and bathroom for themselves. Because rents and real estate values are starting to increase again, you may be locked-in at a lower rate than what the market would charge right now.
Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Use, Including Jewelry
If the need for cash is immediate and short term, you can get quick money by selling your unwanted or broken gold jewelry. Gold prices are at an all-time high so check your jewelry box to see if there are pieces you don’t use or don’t intend to have fixed. The jewelry must be at least 14 carat gold since buyers are not interested in gold fill or gold plate. You can also sell sterling silver flatware and serving pieces, but silver jewelry doesn’t have enough weight to make it profitable.
Furthermore, if you have been paying rent on a storage unit for more than six months, chances are you do not need the things you are paying to store. Many storage facilities will let you have a sale right in your unit. Sell that unnecessary stuff and save the monthly fees while earning some quick cash. Chances are you need the money more than you need the stuff anyway, and you never know what priceless antiques you may find going through your own storage unit.
Use Your Car For Advertising
You have probably noticed cars and trucks with graphic advertisements plastered all over them. Those cars do not necessarily belong to the business that is advertised. Businesses will pay car owners to allow them to cover their cars with their ads. Payments are between $100 and $600 per month and some companies even provide the car. Just go to the company website and fill out your demographic information. If the company decides to use your car, the promotion could last from a few months to a few years.
While this is a great way to earn a few bucks with very little effort, you may not be chosen or may be put on a waiting list so this is not a sure way to earn more. You will have to drive a set number of miles each month to fulfill your contract, but if you have a long commute to work, this could pay some of your expenses. It takes several hours to have your car wrapped with the ads, but once the ads are removed, your car is undamaged.
There are other ways to earn extra money in your spare time, especially if you have a PC and internet access. Use that PC to pay for itself and your monthly internet bills by using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and completing HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks). A little creativity could help you earn extra money to save for future financial goals.